Sunday, February 26, 2006 Iraqi political leaders have agreed to push ahead with US-sponsored efforts to form a government and condemned sectarian violence in an attempt to ease the gravest crisis in postwar Iraq. Ibrahim al-Jaafari, the Shia prime minister, flanked by Kurdish and Arab Sunni leaders, called on Iraqis on Saturday to unite and fight terrorism in a news conference carried live to the nation on state television. With the gravest crisis since the US invasion threatening his plan to withdraw 136,000 troops, George Bush, the US president, made calls to Iraqi leaders on all sides urging them to work together to break a round of attacks sparked by the suspected al-Qaida bombing of a Shia shrine on Wednesday. Those top leaders then met for talks directed at getting plans for a national unity government back on track. Film of the meeting, attended by the US envoy, was broadcast live on state television in a clear effort to defuse sectarian tensions. The White House announced after Bush's calls to Baghdad that: "He [Bush] encouraged them to continue to work together to thwart the efforts of the perpetrators of the violence to sow discord."